It is also no coincidence that landlords with peasants close to major transport routes chose payment in the form of obrok (owing an annual sum) over barshchina (owing labour service) from their serfs.
Profits, when passed along to landowners through a tax known as obrok, encouraged owners to allow even greater freedom of movement.
Indeed, the seignior and his manager (if he employed one) often had to concede considerable autonomy to obrok peasants, allowing them to leave the estate for long periods in order to earn money.
The rest of this article deals with one such commune on an obrok estate in the early nineteenth century.
Obrok was set at ten assignat rubles per male soul in 1800.
88) This may reflect the predominance of obrok estates, where peasant households generally enjoyed more economic autonomy and less regimentation.
In addition, continued Ponomarev, the manager had gone so far as to enlist the support of many poorer peasants by forcing the richer households to pay the taxes and obrok of families with only one male.
He instead envisioned gradual reforms, beginning with giving the serfs more responsibility by assigning them a share of the revenues, expanding the use of obrok
(quitrent) at the expense of barshchina (corvee) and, most of all, educating the landowners better about new management techniques.